Removing Unused Joomla Extensions

Benefits

Removing unused third party Joomla extensions has several benefits including:

  • performance improvement
  • reducing website maintenance
  • improving website security
  • reducing conflicts between extensions

There's usually no point removing unused core extensions as there may be dependencies that are not obvious and Joomla updates will likely reinstall these anyway.

Compiling a List of Third Party Extensions

Find which third party extensions are installed by logging in to the back-end of the website and checking for extensions with an Author other than "Joomla Project" at Extensions -> Manage -> Manage. (See below for an example).

Managing Extensions

Ignore the following extensions which are installed by default as part of the Joomla 3.x core:

  • beez3 Template by Angie Radtke
  • Editor - CodeMirror Plugin by Marijn Haverbeke
  • Editor - TinyMCE Plugin by Ephox Corporation
  • Hathor Template by Andrea Tarr
  • IDNA Convert Library by phlyLabs
  • Isis Template by Kyle Ledbetter
  • phpass Library by Solar Designer
  • phputf8 Library by Harry Fuecks
  • protostar Template by Kyle Ledbetter

You can also click on the "ID" column heading to sort by ID and in Joomla 3.x, the third party extensions start at ID = 10000. (Thanks to Tim Davis from www.cybersalt.com for this tip).

How to Check if a Third Party Extension is Being Used

Components

Installed and enabled components are generally found under the Components menu. Some Components are used in the back-end only (e.g. Akeeba Backup) and you will generally know if you are using these types of Components or not.

Components that are used in the front-end are often associated with a menu item so open each Menu and scan the list of menu items to see which components are in use. (See below for an example). You can probably ignore menu items that are disabled.

Menu Administration

Modules

You can see which third party modules are being used at Extensions -> Modules. (See below for an example). You can probably ignore modules that are disabled.

Module Administration

Note that menu items with no module position assigned may or may not be in use as these can be inserted into content using "loadmodule" syntax or similar. Modules can also be inserted into pages using a page builder such as SP Page Builder so don't assume a module with no module position can be removed.

You can find out if loadposition or loadmodule are being used by searching the website for "{loadmodule" and "{loadposition". If there's no search option published on the website, you can usually browse to www.example-website-name.com/index.php?option=com_search&view=search to show the Joomla standard search. If third party extensions for displaying modules are installed you may need to do additional searches. For example, search for "{module" if Regular Labs Modules Anywhere is installed.

Plugins

You can see which third party plugins are being used at Extensions -> Plugins. (See below for an example). You can probably ignore plugins that are disabled.

Plugin Administration

Templates

You can see which templates are being used at Extensions -> Templates. Templates that are not being used will show "Not assigned". (See below for an example).

Template Administration

Removing Unused Third Party Extensions

Before doing any changes, be sure to run a full backup of the website using Akeeba Backup or similar and copy the backup file off-site as a precaution.

Before removing an extension that looks like it is not being used, I recommend disabling it first and testing the website thoroughly to be sure that everything is still working as expected.

Once you are confident that the extension is not needed, then remove it.

Website Health Check

To find out how well your website is configured, order a Website Health Check for $90.

The Health Check includes:

  • check CMS and third party extension/plugin versions
  • check Google is seeing the website as responsive
  • check website page load speed
  • check robots.txt
  • check free space
  • check backup is enabled and suitably configured
  • check web hosting configuration and suitability
  • recommendations on how best to address any discovered issues

Note that no changes are made to your website during the Website Health Check without consulting you first.

The cost of a Website Health Check is refundable if you purchase a 12 month Website Maintenance and Backup Subscription within 30 days of the check.

Website Maintenance and Backup Subscriptions

  Economy Business Enterprise
Monthly Cost $39 per month $69 per month $99 per month
Annual Cost $390 per year* $690 per year* $990 per year*
Third party extensions up to 10 extensions up to 20 extensions up to 30 extensions
Monthly Report Yes Yes Yes
Free initial security audit (valued at $220) Yes Yes Yes
Monitor new CMS and third party extension/plugin updates Yes Yes Yes
High priority CMS updates installed within 24 hours Yes Yes Yes
High priority third party extension/plugin updates installed within 24 hours Yes Yes Yes
Non-critical CMS and third party extension/plugin updates installed quarterly Yes Yes Yes
Monthly off-site backups Yes Yes Yes
Non-critical CMS and third party extension/plugin updates installed monthly No Yes Yes
Installation of web application firewall (e.g. Akeeba Admin Tools Pro) No Yes Yes
Weekly off-site backups No No Yes
Monthly malware scan No No Yes

* Pay 12 months in advance and get 2 months free.

The Best Shared Web Hosting for Australian Businesses and Organisations

As a web developer, I am wary when contacted by prospective clients who tell me that they have already arranged their web hosting. The selected web hosting company is often not the best choice for various reasons.

Web Hosting Tip:
My number one tip when choosing a web hosting company is to ask your web service provider before purchasing a web hosting plan so he or she can recommend a plan that is suitable for your particular requirements. Choosing the wrong plan can be a costly exercise!

With Google now including performance as a ranking factor, it is more important than ever to make good decisions about your web hosting provider.

Shared Hosting

Shared web hosting is an affordable web hosting option where your website is securely hosted on the same server as a number of other websites and usually located in a secure data centre.

Shared hosting suits most businesses and organisations with plans typically offering 5GB, 10GB, 25GB or similar storage space and 250GB, 500GB or unlimited monthly bandwidth.

Choosing a Web Hosting Plan

Your choice of web hosting plan and server location depends on a number of factors such as cost, value for money, the geographic location of your website visitors and the type of website.

The following plans are the ones I tend to recommend for Australian businesses and organisations with Joomla or similar websites. All of these service providers offer good uptime (reliability), security, performance, technical support and value for money. They also keep their servers up to date so you can always select a supported version of PHP for example.

  Australian Customer Base International Customer Base

ventraip logo au

VentraIP Shared Web Hosting plans from $120.00 / year (Sydney)2
Yes No1

A Complete Web Hosting Support Platfrom | Cloudaccess.net

CloudAccess web hosting from US$60 / year (Detroit, Phoenix, Barcelona or Luxembourg)2
No1 Yes

1 Enabling a suitable content delivery network (CDN) such as CloudFlare or similar on these plans would likely overcome the lag due to distance although I don't tend to recommend adding this extra layer of complexity where good quality web hosting is sufficient.
2 This is an affiliate link. When this link is used to make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps me to continue providing content like this.

Note that new VentraIP customers sometimes qualify for discounted hosting for the first year so the initial invoice may be less than the stated prices.

In general, website owners with a local customer base are usually fine with VentraIP.

Website owners with an international customer base are better off hosting with CloudAccess.

Other Recommended Web Hosting Companies

For up to date information on the best and worst local web hosting companies, see Web Hosting Down Under and the latest posts in the Web Hosting Forum on the Whirlpool forums.

Web Hosting Companies to Avoid

The following web hosting companies are best avoided as these companies will have your web developer tearing his or her hair out!

  • Crazy Domains and associated brands including Aust Domains and Cheap Domains.
  • GoDaddy
  • iiNet. iiNet is an ISP, not a web hosting company. They do offer web hosting but this is not one of their strengths.
  • Melbourne IT and associated brands including WebCentral, Domainz, NetRegistry, Ziphosting, TPP Wholesale, UberGlobal, AussieHQ, Jumba, SmartyHost and Ilisys.

With frequent mergers and acquisitions, the Australian web hosting landscape changes constantly. For up to date information, see the Hosting Providers wiki page on the Whirlpool website.

Web Hosting Tip:
You may think you can save $100 or more on annual web hosting fees by choosing a cheaper web hosting provider but savings are invariably consumed when technical issues arise and support staff are unresponsive and/or incompetent.

Website and Web Hosting Performance Check

The longer your website takes to load, the more likely visitors will browse elsewhere. Ideally, web pages should load in less than 4 seconds.

You can test your own website or competitors websites using GTMetrix, Pingdom or similar.

Create a free account on GTMetrix so you can choose which location to run the test from.

Another useful tool for comparing page load speeds around the world is the Sucuri Load Time Tester.

gtmetrix example

pingdom example

sucuri example

Move My Website to a Better Web Hosting Company

Moving a website to a new web host typically takes a couple of hours or around $176 and includes:

  • backing up the current website
  • finding the most suitable web hosting company for your particular website within your budget
  • purchasing a new web hosting plan on your behalf
  • restoring the website to the new web host
  • updating the domain name to point to the new host
  • testing
  • forwarding any orphaned emails on the old host to the new host
  • optionally moving your domain name to the new service provider

Note that you will be moving to a better web hosting company and for most of my clients this is often a cheaper web hosting company so that the cost of the move is soon recovered.

Contact me to enquire about moving web hosts.

Time to Upgrade to a Responsive Template in preparation for "Mobilegeddon" on 21st April

MobilegeddonApparently more than 50% of web searches now originate on mobile devices and Google recently announced that mobile-friendliness will be a ranking signal from April 21st 2015.

A Google Engineer suggests this change will affect as many websites as the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates and industry experts have christened this latest algorithm update, "mobilegeddon".

Responsive Templates

The best way to ensure your Joomla website search ranking is preserved is to implement a responsive template if you don't already have one.

Responsive templates are available for Joomla 2.5 and there were even a few for Joomla 1.5 but Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 are already "end-of-life" and you should ideally migrate to Joomla 3.x which ships with Bootstrap and already includes some responsive templates.

robots.txt Changes

If you installed Joomla prior to version 3.3, you will likely need to amend your robots.txt file to ensure that Google can access CSS, JavaScript and other files in your template folder to confirm your website is mobile friendly.

Mobile Friendly Testing and Official Instructions from Google

Google has provided a test tool at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ so you can check that your website is ticking all the relevant check boxes.

Google has also provided instructions on how best to make your website mobile friendly including specific instructions for Joomla, WordPress and other popular platforms.

More Information

For more information see:

http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2398591/-mobilegeddon-is-coming-on-april-21-are-you-ready
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244175
http://www.didit.com/mobilegeddon-tip-of-the-week-examine-your-robots-txt-file/
http://www.stemlegal.com/strategyblog/2015/mobilegeddon-the-countdown-is-on/

Joomla 2.5 "End of Life" Implications

Official support for Joomla 2.5 ended on December 31st, 2014.

joomla 2.5 end of life

Joomla 2.5 websites will, of course, still operate after this date but security vulnerability fixes may no longer be available and this could place your Joomla 2.5 website at risk.

Joomla 2.5 is becoming increasingly more difficult to support as extension developers concentrate on newer versions of Joomla and drop support for older versions.

Advice for Joomla 2.5 Website Owners

To keep websites secure, Joomla 2.5 website owners should update to the final release Joomla 2.5.28, apply end of life security patches if they haven't already been applied and then migrate to Joomla 3.x as soon as possible.

Apart from official support, other advantages in moving to Joomla 3.x include new features such as tags, version control, improved security, PHP 7 support, improved security and custom fields.

The degree of difficulty in upgrading your Joomla 2.5 website to Joomla 3.x will depend on a number of factors including the currently used template, other third party extensions and the content that needs to be brought across.

Migrating from Joomla 2.5 to 3.x

Moving from Joomla 2.5 to 3.x is regarded as a "mini-migration" which involves the following:

  • check the hosting environment is suitable for Joomla 3.x (e.g. PHP 5.3 or later)
  • run backup
  • make a list of third party extensions and check that equivalents are available in Joomla 3.x
  • remove any extensions that are not Joomla 3.x compatible (including templates)
  • update from 2.5.x to 3.x
  • install Joomla 3.x versions of third party extensions (including templates)
  • test and verify that everything has migrated successfully

This process can take anything from an hour or two to a whole day or even longer depending on the complexity of the website and the availability of equivalent Joomla 3.x versions of extensions.

Migrating from Joomla 1.5 to 3.x

Joomla 1.5 website owners are in a similar position to Joomla 2.5 website owners in that Joomla 1.5 is also officially unsupported and potentially vulnerable if new security flaws are found and exploited by hackers.

Joomla 1.5 website owners can migrate directly from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x using a migration tool such as "SP Upgrade" or similar which is a litle more complicated than the Joomla 2.5 to 3.x "mini-migration". One of the main benefits for Joomla 1.5 website owners moving to the latest version of Joomla is the availability of responsive (mobile friendly) templates that weren't widely available in Joomla 1.5.

More Information

Official Joomla 2.5 to 3.x Step by Step Migration instructions can be found on the Joomla Community website.

Official Joomla 1.5 to 3.x Step by Step Migration instructions can be found on the Joomla Community website.

Webilicious can help with Joomla Migrations.

Migrate My Joomla Website

Migrate from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 3.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.x migration typically takes at least five hours and costs from around $450.

Contact me for a quote.

Migrate from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 3.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x migration migration typically takes at least three hours and costs from around $250.

Contact me for a quote.

Migrate from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x

The cost of migrating from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x depends on the number of third party extensions and whether there are Joomla 3.x equivalents, whether there is an equivalent Joomla 4.x template and other factors. A straightforward Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x migration migration typically takes at least three hours and costs from around $250.

Contact me for a quote.